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Etiquette and manners Q&A: Learn tips on how to prevent social mistakes

Advice and etiquette, the business of being polite
Manners in Mind chief Kristen Graff

Let’s face it, in the worst of situations, we really want to keep our heads held high by taking the high road, and we all just need a bit of etiquette guidance to help us stay on course. Etiquette expert Kristen Graff helps us learn how to behave and prevent social gaffes in this month’s version of Oh, Behave!

On parking faux pas

Question: A person who does not live on our street always parks their car outside our house in a stretch of road between driveways that could accommodate two parked cars; however, the way they park means another car is unable to fit in front or behind. What’s more, they park about 50cm to 60cm from the kerb, so it looks more like they have abandoned the car rather than parked it. It can then stay there for up to four days at a time. If someone else parks there first, often they park anyway, partially blocking our driveway, which makes it difficult to reverse out. Sometimes I’ve been late for meetings waiting for the second person to come back and move their car!

Answer: You have a few options in this situation. The first is to leave a note on the windscreen of the parking pest alerting them to the problems that they are causing. If this doesn’t work, you could park your car in this spot so that the driver doesn’t have the choice to park there anymore. The final option is to report the offender to the Transport Department. The costly ticket will likely deter inconsiderate behaviour in the future.
On having good taste

Question: Is it impolite to lick the lid of a yoghurt pot in public?

Answer: Yes. This is part of the packaging of your meal. Would you lick the container that the yogurt is served in? We hope not. The lid of the yoghurt pot is in the same category and should be set aside once opened. If you simply can’t resist, grab a spoon and scrape the yoghurt from the lid.

This article originally appeared in Expat Living Singapore magazine, May 2015.

Manners in Mind provides modern-day advice and classes for children and adults on cultural, social and corporate etiquette.